[photopress:lenovo_olympics.jpg,full,alignright]In 2004, Chinese computer maker Lenovo Group became the first Top Olympic Partner (TOP) from China. TOP sponsorship is one of the most expensive in the sport industry, and it usually costs about US$50 million. The sponsor then spends at least three times that amount promoting the sponsorship.
Lenovo’s revenue in the 2004 fiscal year was just US$297 million. It was a bold, courageous, and as it turns out, correct gamble.
Lenovo’s Li Lan, vice-president for global Olympic marketing, identified the steps in the firm’s sports marketing push. The main one was to align sports marketing with the company’s strategic demand.
The IOC was keen to install a Chinese firm as its TOP partner to stimulate the host nation’s interest in the Games. And Chinese people also supported a domestic firm taking a leading role in the Games.
In October, Lenovo partnered with NBA, the most popular sport shared by Chinese and Americans. NBA and Lenovo tailor-made the Lenovo Stat service used by basketball fans to find official statistics. Lenovo had acquired IBM’s PC business in 2005 but still needed to publicize its company and products and build its brand in the US.
In the 2006 Torino Winter Games, the firm created the concept of Lenovo Internet cafes, allowing athletes and participants to use Lenovo computers to surf the Internet at venues.
It all seems to be working. Lenovo is now a known and accepted brand around the world.
Source: China Daily